Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ryan is 12!

We're in the midst of Project GOOD and VBS this week, plus we've got the big party on Saturday. Still, we had to have a celebration for our foursome on Ryan's actual birthday! We went to IHOP (the "official" HCC one) for lunch, ran to Sam's to order the cake for Saturday, and then came home for some cake and ice cream.

Then Ryan got to open a present! After VBS the kids and I watched Alvin and the Chipmunks, pausing the DVD at 11:19 p.m. to celebrate Ryan's birth-minute. So now he's officially 12, and I'm officially in denial.

It was just a mini-party, but apparently it was too much for Cha-Cha!

Twelve years ago today.

The face—and belly—of "borderline" gestational diabetes.
This was taken about a week before Ryan decided to join us.

Twelve years ago this minute, in the wee small hours of the morning, we were on our way to the hospital. I was just SURE I was in labor, but the doctor sent us home. We'd barely had time to get back into our PJs when my water broke, so back we went!

We returned to the hospital around 5 a.m., and my doctor started me on pitocin to get those contractions rolling. And roll they did! I distinctly remember using the Atlanta Olympics on TV as my focal point when those waves of pain came, and I can still "see" the second TV that was on the wall in my L/D room, a TV that existed only because of the painkillers I was on. (Talk about groovy. Two TVs, dudes.) I remember telling my friends to NEVER HAVE CHILDREN(!), and I remember the three attempts the anesthesiologist needed to get the epidural to work (even though he NEVER misses—or so he said). And I remember the waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

It was around 11 p.m. when my doctor decided this baby was just too big for me, so into the OR we went. I remember being insanely curious about what was happening on the other side of the curtain, but Brett was most definitely not going to take a look on my behalf. Then I remember Ryan's first cry, our first glimpse of him.

And then I remember more pain. After I was wheeled back into my room, nurses were all over me. I was bleeding, and it wasn't stopping. Everyone who'd been waiting 18 hours to see Ryan was crammed into the room, but I couldn't even acknowledge them. I remember the mashing, the pain, and Brett's and my mom's worried faces. My OB was right there, ready to take me back into surgery if the bleeding didn't stop. But finally the bleeding slowed, and our Adventures in Parenting had begun!

We prayed, prayed, prayed for this child before he was born, and we continue to pray for his health and happiness. We also pray that when sickness and sorrow come, he'll have the joy of the Lord to sustain him. God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams with this cool, smart, sweet, funny young man. And this year, he made us so very proud when he added another birthday to our calendar:
Ryan's baptism
Jan. 27, 2008

Happy birthday, Ryan! As I've been telling you for 12 years now, no matter where you go or what you do, Mommy will always love you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That's my girl!

As we were getting ready to head to HCC tonight, Katie informed me that she'll be going to VBS for the rest of her life.

Now she's going as a student, but soon she'll be old enough to help as a shopkeeper's assistant. Eventually she plans to grow into the role of shopkeeper, then tribe leader, and then, after she's accumulated plenty of tenure, she can be the BREADMAKER!

I love her servant heart—and her ambition!

Marketplace mania.

If you're trying to find the Dubs this week, you might try looking for us over here.

It's VBS week again! We'll be at HCC every night through Friday.

Hundreds of kids will be there for the dramatic skits,

the Marketplace shops, and much, much more.

And me? I'll be there in the booth!

It's going to be a busy but fun week!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lost and found.

As part of our Project GOOD*, we've been doing some massive cleaning out and packing up around here lately. In the process of going through pile after pile of keepsakes and clutter, we've found all kinds of gems.

Not sure why I had this picture on our bedroom bookshelf, but this was Sunset, my first car. I remember going to the bank lobby in downtown Tyler to withdraw the $300 it cost—quite the bargain! A '72 Chevy Nova, it had no radio, shredded vinyl that used to be considered upholstery in the front seat, and no A/C. But I stuck an old transistor radio on the passenger seat, we covered the seat bench with some cheap fabric, and I rolled down those windows, delighted to have my own car! You can't tell from this picture, but it was the four-door model, not the "cool" two-door one, but it seemed so petite—at least compared to my mom's '74 Impala! I drove Sunset for about a year until my parents bought a new car and I got their old one. Can you believe my first car was burnt orange? Those were some rockin' license plates, too.

Another find:

This Bonne Bell Dr Pepper Lip Smacker was in a box of letters and notes from back in the day. Never the girly-girl, I didn't (and still don't) wear much makeup, but in middle school, this was my idea of lipstick! And yes, it still smells like Dr Pepper! No reason to wear "makeup" that makes you hungry.

*GOOD=Get Out Of Dodge. We're STILL trying to get our house on the market. STILL! And I'm not frustrated AT ALL that it's late July and we're still working on this stupid house and missing out on this prime house-selling season. Not. at. all. Can you sense my calm and cool approach to this project? No? Me neither.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tough and Tony.

On Tuesday night the boys headed to see Dark Knight, so Katie and I went to Grapevine Mills to adopt a new family member. Yep, we paid a visit to Build-a-Bear!


Warming the heart

Adding some happiness and sweetness

Putting her heart into it

Naming her bear

...and dressing him

Introducing Tough Stuff and Tony Rover (my creation)!

Tough's living up to his name!

T.S. was almost a karate champion, but Katie fell hard for the army fatigues. (Actually, the shades had her at "hello.")

Looking good! (Tony's there to oversee the festivities.)

After our new pets were born, we started to walk around the mall. The carousel stopped us dead in our tracks. Of course, we HAD to ride it! We haven't been to GM in ages, so we have no idea how long the carousel's been there. We do know that the carousel at Stonebriar in Frisco is one of our favorite reasons for going there (well, that and Sam Moon and—of course—IKEA), so we were tickled to go for a spin.

It was a great carousel! Katie opted for a horse, but the bear, the dog and I sat in a big chair. Imagine my surprise when the carousel started spinning and my chair started bouncing!

After that we decided we needed some grub, so we ate at the little Chili's there.

Mmm, chocolate shake!

Once we got home, KitKat had to meet the new family members.

Then Katie pulled out the other Build-a-Bears she's accumulated over the years.
I'm thinking Cassie was Katie's first creation, born at a friend's birthday party.
For tonight, Cassie was renamed Jessica to accompany Tony.

Then Katie decided Supergirl matched Tough Stuff well.

Candy, from K's own Build-a-Bear birthday party, was paired up
with Dirk Nobearski, born during our getaway to OKC in 2006.

Katie had been asking to visit Build-a-Bear for a while now, so tonight was the perfect opportunity to make good on an old promise. What a great time we had!

Got a minute?

Do you know your lifetime insurance cap—you know, the maximum amount your insurance company will pay before it drops your coverage? Many people don't even know what their caps are because they're unlikely to reach them. For most, a $1 million cap seems pretty far off, but for people with chronic conditions like hemophilia, that cap could be reached within their lifetimes. Some kids reach them even before adulthood.

I'm blessed to have medical insurance with no lifetime cap—a rare commodity! It's a good thing I like my job because financially, it would be hard to justify leaving my district simply because we don't have a lifetime cap! However, there are many others who must live in fear of hitting their caps and losing their coverage. They have to make treatment decisions and career choices with that looming roadblock in mind. And that's where the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act comes in—and you, if you so choose!

Congress is considering bills to adjust the minimum lifetime cap to adjust for inflation. Medical costs have risen exponentially, so the minimum cap (first set by many insurance companies in the '70s) would be raised to $10 million.

Read more about the bill here.

The National Hemophilia Foundation has set up an easy way to send your U.S. senators and your representative an email to let them know you support this bill. It only takes a minute, but the cumulative impact of these emails could make this happen.

Write your senators.

Write your representative.

(You may want to modify the email text if you or a family member does not have hemophilia. You can always change it to "my friend" because you know a family affected by that bleeding disorder! And yes, personal calls and letters are more effective than mass emails, but we'll take what we can get!)

Questions about hemophilia? Click here.

I don't blog about hemophilia much because I've been asked not to, and for the last four years, we've been blessed to live without the worst complications of that chronic bleeding disorder. We try to minimize its presence in our lives as much as possible, keeping it in the background. But it's always there, and we can never forget that for many families, complications and financial issues keep hemophilia in the forefront of their lives. For their sakes more than ours, please take a minute to click on those links and lend a hand. Thanks.

And while you're at it, please pray for a cure.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

From Ohio with love...

Nana and Papa had the family over for dinner Saturday night to express appreciation for their anniversary party and to celebrate July birthdays.

As usual, Nana cooked us up a great feast! We loved the black-eyed peas fresh from their garden.

We also enjoyed getting to spend more time with our family at the end of such a crazy week. But after dinner, we moved outside for what might have been the evening's highlight: CORNHOLE!

Cara and her boyfriend shipped the Cowboys-decorated cornhole set from Ohio to Texas so it'd be here for Nana and Papa's 50th. When Cara and Jeff were here last weekend, they taught everybody how to play this game, which seems to be really popular in Midwestern states. This weekend, even though Cara and Jeff were back home in Cleveland, we Texans did our part to help spread cornhole fever 'round these parts.

Kelly really perfected her technique as the evening progressed!

We really enjoyed having Chris in town from UMass for a while.

Chris's friend Quang was a tough competitor!

Scott and Katie go head-to-head.

Ryan and Brett had their own father/son duel.

Papa's got a mean arm on him, but he took a breather so others could play.

Prince didn't know what to think about all these people in his yard!

Katie and Amanda took a spin on a couple of Papa's bikes.

We enjoyed the good food, pleasant weather and fun game, but even though we really missed our absent family members, we loved the chance just to be together.

(If you're viewing this in Firefox, you're probably seeing a gray box over one of the pictures above. Sorry! I still can't find an explanation or a fix for this one! Apparently, the box doesn't appear in other browsers.)

Just another Saturday at Chez Dub.

After so much traveling, it was nice to be back in our own house!

Ryan played Mario Kart,

Katie checked out the Disney Channel,

and Brett worked on his book.

Later that afternoon, we took a pool break.

And oh, yeah... Did I mention we now have a dog? No?

Meet Frisco!